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  • Writer's pictureMeredith Ott

Which is roofing underlayment is the best?

Updated: 5 days ago

Roofing underlayment is just as important as the roofing shingles, metal, or tile you select. Just like roofing water barriers have different goals, so do the underlayment. There are three main categories of underlayment: felt paper (commonly referred to as tar paper), synthetic, and peel-n-stick. Why are they different? Let's do a short and simple run down.

Starting off with the tried and true felt paper. There are two different weights, 15 lb, and 30 lb. Most areas of Florida do not allow 15lb felt paper by itself for building code compliance. Two layers of 15 lb may be acceptable but one layer of 30 lb felt paper is compliant. Check with your local building inspector to confirm what is acceptable in your municipal. Applying felt paper as your underlayment saves you money up-front but offers no secondary water barrier discount on your homeowner's insurance.

Synthetic underlayment installation - Roofer rolling out and stapling waterproof polymer underlayment across roof deck as a secondary moisture barrier before installing shingles
The layers of roofing installation

Next, we move up to synthetic underlayment. Synthetic is becoming more and more popular. It is considered an upgrade to felt paper. More water-resistant than paper but costs a small bit more. So the cost goes up slightly and there is still not a secondary water barrier discount with your homeowner's insurance premium. Synthetic works as a very effective "tarp" for emergency temporary repairs when fastened to the roof with button caps.

Roofing felt underlayment roll - Close up of roll of asphalt-saturated felt paper underlayment material used as a moisture-resistant layer under shingles
New synthetic roofing underlayment

Now for the grand finale of peel- n- stick, sometimes referred to as ice-n-water shield. Out of the threee options listed here, it costs the most, but not by much. Peel- n-stick does bring in the secondary water barrier homeowner's insurance discount. The discount varies between companies. A wind mitigation report is needed by a certified home inspector/inspection company. Peel-n-stick acts as a rubber membrane covering the entire roof. Some companies just apply peel-n-stick in valleys and/or eaves. We prefer to cover the entire roof to maximize the insurance discount. Whatever your budget is, we can help you achieve the roof that you deserve to protect your biggest investment! Call us today for a free estimate at 321-499-3012 or visit our website at

Self-adhering ice and water shield - Roofer applying peel-and-stick rubberized asphalt underlayment at roof eaves and valleys for enhanced water protection
New Peel and Stick Underlayment


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